Dental patients left in lurch - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Dental patients left in lurch

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Posted: Friday, October 21, 2005 11:49 am | Updated: 8:54 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Patients of a Valley dentist who declared bankruptcy and closed his office fear they are going to be left with unfinished dental work and bills for completed service.

The phone to Dr. Paul Custom Smile Design, 6619 N. 19th Ave. in Phoenix, is disconnected and no one is in the office, leaving Dr. Paul Schreiter’s patients fuming.

"I’m on the hook for this loan," said Mesa resident Robin Cote, who financed her $10,000 worth of dental work through Schreiter’s office. "I don’t mind paying for the work that’s done, but only onethird of it is done."

Arizona rules governing dentists state that a dentist could be disciplined for "patient abandonment" if he doesn’t make himself available to his patients either through the office, an answering machine, an emergency number or answering service.

A dentist is also responsible for patient care from beginning to end of treatment, or a substitute dentist must be found, the rules state.

Attempts to reach Schreiter, 46, Thursday were unsuccessful.

Cote hasn’t heard from him either.

Cote said the dentist who did the work on her informed her by certified mail that he left Schreiter’s office Oct. 7 and referred her to Schreiter’s care.

Cote called the office Monday and Tuesday and got a message stating that the voice mail was full.

The phone was disconnected when she called Wednesday, Cote said.

Court records show Schreiter filed for bankruptcy Oct. 14.

Mesa resident Mona Camp said she showed up for an appointment about three weeks ago to find the office shut down.

Camp said she financed $7,250 for implants through Schreiter’s office and no work has been done.

Camp’s loan paperwork shows that a lender deposited the money straight into Schreiter’s account.

Camp said she had numerous consultations with Schreiter since March, but he often canceled, which she found unusual for a dentist.

"I began to get suspicious," Camp said.

Both women found Schreiter from television appearances in which he said he could turn lives around.

Camp said she wanted the work done in time for her daughter’s July wedding, but more importantly, she needs it for health reasons.

Cote said missing teeth kept her from smiling for years and she finally reached a point in her life where she could afford the work.

"I’m extremely devastated someone pulled the carpet out from under my dream," she said.

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